The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

By Sean Silbert and Julie Makinen, Los Angeles Times

BEIJING — Hong Kong’s democracy protesters are fighting off their chief executive, who is dressed as a wolf, with nothing but umbrellas, incense sticks and durian fruit.

At least that’s how the conflict takes place in “Yellow Umbrella,” a free game for Android cellphones that’s become an overnight hit among demonstrators. Since the app was released on Oct. 20, it has been downloaded more than 60,000 times, according to Hong Kong-based developer Awesapp. (A version for iPhone and iPad is under review by Apple.)

The app puts players atop one of the blockades that have become a flashpoint in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory’s conflict over rules for elections in 2017. Characters must defend against tear-gas wielding police, thuggish Triad gangsters and the city’s leader, Leung Chun-ying, wearing wolf clothing (Leung is a near-homophone for the Cantonese word for “wolf,” which has unflattering connotations). And in keeping with the nonviolent principles espoused by protest leaders, players cannot attack their assailants but must peacefully defend using umbrellas.

CEO and founder Fung Kam-keung said Awesapp wanted to make a game not only for fun but to show support to the students and to “let others know that they are very peaceful in asking for real elections.” In an email, he added that the game was constructed in just five days, with his team working day and night.

As for what gamers can achieve when they play “Yellow Umbrella” all the way through, he said, “Nobody can win this game. We want to tell that this is not a revolution. The protesters ask for democracy and peace.”
The game has received positive reviews on the Google Play store. Unsurprisingly, it is not available in mainland China. Most of the downloads so far, Fung said, have come from Hong Kong.

Cellphone games and other apps fall under China’s massive Internet censorship apparatus, which looks to only be getting more stringent. The Beijing News this week quoted experts suggesting that the State Internet Information Office, which manages online censorship, will introduce more regulations on who is qualified to publish cellphone apps and games.

The new regulations were not specified, but the agency claimed that they will strengthen Internet regulations to protect users’ “online security” and privacy.

Occasionally politically minded games like “Yellow Umbrella” make it through the firewall in China. In 2010, a game called “Nail House War” had players defend a house scheduled to be demolished by throwing shoes, Molotov cocktails and other weapons at a wrecking crew. Forced demolitions have been a contentious social issue for years in China, with many people being evicted from their longtime homes to make room for new developments.

AFP Photo/ Xaume Olleros

Want more political news and analysis? Sign up for our daily email newsletter!

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Donald Trump

Youtube Screenshot

New details about the direct role that Donald Trump played in developing a strategy to overturn the 2020 election were revealed in a federal court filing from election coup attorney John Eastman late Thursday.

Eastman is several months into a battle to keep records of his work for Trump in the run-up to January 6 confidential. but in his latest parry to bar access to emails he says should be protected under attorney-client privilege, he has revealed that Trump sent him at least “two hand-written notes” containing information “he thought might be useful for the anticipated litigation” challenging election results.

Keep reading... Show less

Rep. Matt Gaetz

Youtube Screenshot

Reps. Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene are defending their vote to restrict low-income families' ability to buy formula during the ongoing shortage.

Two Republican lawmakers are upset that Congress overwhelmingly voted to ease restrictions for poor families to purchase infant formula during the current shortage, saying that allowing low-income families to obtain life-sustaining nutrition for their infants comes at the expense of more well-off families.

Keep reading... Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}